In spite of the current positive news in the environmental sphere, it seems as though there are certain people out there who still simply do not care for our planet and its animal inhabitants. On top of President Trump, these also include poachers and trophy hunters - who track down and brutally murder endangered animals for sport.
The most recent tragic discovery? A brutally shot pygmy elephant in Malaysia. The poor creature's tusks were removed, which means it was very likely captured by ivory hunters. But, to make things even more brutal, the elephant was also found with over seventy bullet holes in its body.
In spite of knowing the negative impact it has...
via: Getty ImagesThere are some out there who seemingly can't resist hunting and killing exotic (and often endangered) animals.
It seems like almost no wild animal is safe.
via: ShutterstockBut there is one species that seems particularly vulnerable to the cruelty of human beings.
Elephants have long been at risk of hunters.
via: ShutterstockThe gigantic animals seem almost irresistible to trophy hunters and poachers alike.
And there's one primary reason for this.
via: ShutterstockElephants' large side teeth (known as tusks) are made of ivory - one of the rarest and most valuable materials on Earth.
Which, of course, means one thing.
via: Getty ImagesHumans want it for themselves! Honestly, humanity is really the worst.
Ivory has a whole host of uses.
via: Getty ImagesIn the past, it was used to construct piano keys. Now, they tend to be made of more humane material - but there's still a huge demand for ivory, particularly for ornaments and decorative items.
Poaching elephants for ivory has a long tradition behind it.
via: ShutterstockHere's past U.S. President, Theodore Roosevelt cheerily posing alongside an elephant he killed in 1910. It doesn't look too dissimilar from the images of trophy hunters of today!
But what could possibly tug heartstrings more than the death of an innocent elephant?
via: ShutterstockHow about the death of a super-cute, tiny elephant? The pygmy elephant, also known as the Borneo elephant, is a subspecies of the Asian elephant known for its diminutive size.
They're seriously cute.
via: ShutterstockThey're the smallest elephant subspecies and described by the WWF as having "oversized ears, plump bellies and tails so long they sometimes drag on the ground as they walk. They are also more gentle-natured than their Asian elephant counterparts."
These animals are native to Borneo and parts of Malaysia.
via: ShutterstockThey live in a forest habitat and vary in size between eight and ten feet. At present, there are only one thousand five hundred left in the wild.
These elephants also rely on being close to water.
via: ShutterstockWhich makes the rainforests of Sabah (between Borneo and Malaysia) the ideal territory for this cute species.
But, this week, something tragic was discovered.
via: ShutterstockA fisherman working the rivers in Sabah discovered a dead pygmy elephant floating in the river.
But it gets even worse.
via: ShutterstockA post-mortem on the poor animal discovered that it was "riddled" with bullet-holes - showing it had been shot around seventy times.
The fatal shot was in the elephant's temple.
via: ShutterstockBut all seventy shots were at incredibly close range - which has led some to suspect the animal suffered for a while before finally being put out of its misery.
Sabah Wildlife Department Director Augustine Tuuga has spoken on the incident.
via: Borneo PostHe claimed it didn't matter how long the elephant suffered before its death, and that the killing was "cruel" either way.
Photos shared of the incident were truly heartbreaking.The petite elephant was found partially submerged in the muddy water, held to the bank by an old piece of rope.
The fisherman who made the dark discovery alerted the authorities.They then pulled the animal's body out of the water using machinery from a nearby farm.
The elephant was then taken for a post-mortem.It was there the cause of death (the shot to the temple) was confirmed by medical professionals.
They noticed something else, too.The elephant's tusks had both been removed immediately after death - which confirmed suspicions that the animal had been a victim of poachers.
Police are currently searching for the group of men that they believe are responsible.
via: ShutterstockThey're not taking the incident lightly, either. Poaching a pygmy elephant comes with a five-year prison sentence and a fine of up to sixty thousand dollars.